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Star Wars Hunters and Zelda Skyward Sword HD announced for Nintendo Switch

By Benjamin Bullard
Star Wars Hunters game logo for Nintendo Switch

The next gaming adventure set in the galaxy far, far away is closer than we thought. Nintendo revealed an all-new Star Wars game today as part of its jam-packed Nintendo Direct showcase, introducing the world to Star Wars Hunters, a combat-focused arena fighter from Lucasfilm Games and mobile gaming juggernaut Zynga.

Built specifically for the Switch, Star Wars Hunters is a third-person co-op brawler that aims to “bring players together to engage in thrilling, team-based, multiplayer battles,” all while managing to rope in a Mos Eisley cantina’s worth of new Star Wars characters based on familiar human, droid, and alien classes. Briefly teased in an art style that somehow evokes both the serious and whimsical sides of the galaxy, Hunters comes with a first-look trailer that raises as many questions (who’s that Wookiee!?) as it answers.

Check it out:

Hunters will arrive as one of the first new Star Wars games announced since Lucasfilm rebranded its gaming division under the new Lucasfilm Games banner, and it’s apparently meant to be viewed as a bona fide addition to the overall canon — at least on the gaming side of things. Set after the fall of the Empire between the movie events of Episodes 6 & 7, the multiplayer fighter “draws inspiration from classic Star Wars stories and settings, but with a look and feel that is different from anything we have done before,” Lucasfilm Games VP Douglas Reilly explains at the official Star Wars website.

Details are still slight, but Star Wars Hunters is being pitched as a “free to download” game, and it’s expected to touch down on the Switch (as well as Apple’s App Store and Google Play) sometime later this year.

If it’s details you’re looking for, look no further than what may have been Nintendo’s biggest reveal of the day: the much-demanded arrival of an HD-enhanced Zelda gaming classic for the Switch.

Zelda creative mastermind Eiji Aonuma showed up during today’s showcase to let fans know that it’ll be later this year before there’s any fresh news on Nintendo’s hugely hyped Breath of the Wild sequel. Then he extended one whopper of an olive branch by announcing an HD-upgraded, Switch-optimized edition of The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, the 2011 Wii classic that — until now — has been conspicuously absent (as have several other old-school Zelda games) from the Switch’s lineup.

Skyward Sword has the dual distinction of capturing the earliest events in the sprawling Zelda timeline, as well as being the last mainline Zelda title to be released before 2017’s Breath of the Wild. Aonuma gave players an early taste of how the game’s combat and exploration have been adapted from the Wii’s motion control to suit the Switch’s motion-sensing Joy-Con setup, explaining there’ll also be a button-only play mode for those times when you want to take the hybrid console on the go.

Any old-school Zelda game finding its way onto the Switch is big news, especially since there’re still so many — from Majora’s Mask to Wind Waker to Twilight Princess and more — that fans are still clamoring for. Nintendo knows it’s scratching a big itch that tons of fans have been feeling by bringing Skyward Sword into the fold. Naturally, that means a new Zelda-themed Joy-Con controller will be coming along to commemorate the occasion, complete with a blue-on-white color scheme that features the Master Sword and Hylian Shield motifs.

Get set to retrace Link’s earliest steps this summer, when The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD (as well as the new Joy-Con controllers) seize the power of the Triforce on July 16.

For more on all the gaming reveals Nintendo showcased during its latest Direct (including the newest Super Smash Bros. fighters, a new RPG from Square Enix, Splatoon 3, and more), drop by on Friday for our regular column, The Week in Gaming.